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Naturist Education Foundation Research Library
Here are a few samples of covers from the more than 15,000 unique naturist and nudist magazines that are preserved by the NEF Research Library.
What does this say about American nudism in 1945, if anything? The cover alone hints at the early 20th century ideal of rural life as healthier and more moral than what's found in darker, grittier American cities. Even with the not-too-subtle pahallic allusion of the manly man's rather turgid pitchfork (a pictorial suggestion not uncommon with S&H covers of the 1940s) or the milk pail under the woman's breast, S&H is trying to associate nudism with a pure, healthy bucolic life.
All of this merits analysis, and that is what the Naturist Education Foundation Research Library aims to promote. Through its Research Library, NEF is committed to maintaining the world's largest and most complete collection of nudist/naturist-themed magazines, books, and other items of historical or cultural importance. By making the resource available to serious researchers, NEF improves academic and public understanding of what naturism has been and is today, benefiting both the naturist community and the general public.
Go to naturisteducation.org/library for information on donating nudist-related materials or money to NEF for the support anad development of the library. NEF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable foundation. Donations of materials and money are tax-deductible under most circumstances. Consult your tax professional.
A slightly different version of this article appeared in issue 35.2 (Winter 2015) of N magazine, published by The Naturist Society. naturistsociety.com Used with permission.
Consider the May 1945 issue of Sunshine & Health, the "official organ of the American Sunbathing Association," North America's largest nudist group in the mid-20th century. The year was important for the United States. The Germans surrendered in May, with Japan following suit in August, bringing an end to World War II. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away, and Harry S. Truman entered the White House. The United Nations formed at a San Francisco conference of 50 nations. Of perhaps lesser importance, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello starred in The Naughty Nineties, giving a war-weary nation a laugh with their best rendition of "Who's on First?" The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, four games to three. Literature fans enjoyed the publication of George Orwell's Animal Farm, John Steinbeck's Cannery Row,
and The Pearl, Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, Richard Wright's Black Boy, and W.H. Auden's Collected Poetry. So what were
nudists interested in during this time?
To the degree an "official organ" speaks for the clothes-free across the land, World War II was nearly as much out of mind as it was out of sight, at least for those remaining at home in the United States. A page titled "Discoveries of a Soldier" nods briefly to those serving in the military with a short essay and a longer poem praising an open view of the nudist lifestyle. A short article argues that sunbathing naked will help one avoid colds, miss fewer days of work and spend less on cold remedies, and thus assist in the war effort. The issue features a lengthy editorial call for photo donations, articles promoting and telling about nudist living, and ASA club news.
PRESERVING NATURIST HISTORY
The Naturist Education Foundation recently commissioned renowned naturist videographer Michael Cooney to create a brand new introductory video for the NEF Research Library. Overseen from conception to completion by former NEF Library project manager Mark Storey, the brief video features the Library itself and its fascinating nudist-and-naturist themed collections, as seen in the context of naturist history. The image at the left is from the video. Ready to watch? Click the image.
WATCH an INTRODUCTORY VIDEO for the NEF LIBRARY